Ontario lockdown January 2021
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Happy New Year to our readers! In Ontario, we begin the new year in yet another lockdown situation, which has forced many many small businesses to switch back to curbside pick-up only or, in some cases, stop operating. In southern Ontario, the lockdown will remain in effect until at least January 23, 2021. Full details of the lockdown rules can be found in O. Reg. 779/20, which came into effect on December 26, 2020.  

Staying Open? Make A Safety Plan!

For businesses that remain open and in-person, employers are required to prepare and make available a safety plan. Physical distancing and applicable capacity limits, as set out in O. Reg. 779/20 must be followed. 
Continue Reading Ontario’s Latest Lockdown and a New Grant for Small Businesses

IDEL extension July 3, 2021
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We had a feeling this might happen! And it has. The Ontario government has extended the length of the Deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) AGAIN! Enacting O. Reg 765/20, amending O. Reg 228/20 both under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). 

We have been warning our clients – and webinar attendees – about the upcoming January 2, 2021 end to the Deemed IDEL – it has now been extended to July 3, 2021. 

What is a Deemed IDEL? 

Employees who were laid off or had their hours reduced from March 1, 2020, until July 3, 2021, are on a deemed IDEL. During normal times, we would consider these employees to just be laid off but these regulations convert any reduction in hours – including all the way to ZERO hours and ZERO pay – to be deemed IDELs and not layoffs. 
Continue Reading New! IDEL Extension Until July 3, 2021

workplace mandate for vaccination
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Now that Canada has started to administer its first COVID-19 vaccine shots, many employers are wondering if they can require their workers to get vaccinated? A workplace mandate for vaccination seems like sensible risk management after a year of devastating costs for employers due to the pandemic. 

What if My Employee Refuses to be Vaccinated?

But what can an employer do if an employee refuses to be vaccinated? As long as your employees are not unionized, employers have the right to terminate employment without cause for any reason unless it’s discriminatory. As long as the requirement or any policy related to vaccination doesn’t infringe on any human rights protection owed to the employee, the requirement is not discriminatory. Requiring an employee to be vaccinated when they have a good reason not to be – for example, they are immunocompromised and it is not recommended by their doctor – would likely be a human rights violation.  An employee terminated for refusing or delaying in being vaccinated will be owed any contractual, statutory or perhaps common law termination pay to which they are entitled. This is because the refusal to be vaccinated likely won’t be just grounds for a termination with cause. 
Continue Reading Vaccination and the Workplace

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension and UpdatesThe federal government has once again extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and made changes to the eligibility criteria. 

While most businesses will want to work with an accountant to apply and determine their subsidy amount, the government does provide lots of good information on the CEWS FAQ page, this CEWS information page and the application page

Here are some highlights of the latest version of the CEWS:

  • CEWS extended until June 2021.
  • Maximum subsidy amount of 65% for periods 8 – 10 (September 27, 2020 – December 19, 2020). This is a maximum weekly benefit of $734 per employee and requires employers to show a revenue drop of 70% of more.  
  • Employers with any amount of revenue drop will be eligible for some amount of subsidy.
  • Deadline to apply is January 31, 2021, or 180 days after the end of the claim period, whichever comes later. 
    Continue Reading Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Update

Free legal updates webinar: 2020 Wrap-Up & Your Questions AnsweredWhat a year it has been in the world of employment law! For our final webinar of 2020, join Lisa Stam and Hilary Page for a quick overview of important legal updates/the current lay of the land, along with an ‘open mic’ for your pressing questions.

Register today for our free SpringForward Legal Updates webinar

Toolkit helps employers during latest Covid-19 lockdownAs COVID-19 continues to create barriers for businesses across the province, many employers face tough decisions regarding their staff. With so much uncertainty regarding when and if things will return to normal, scaling down or shutting down is becoming a reality in many industries. 

At SpringLaw, we help employers navigate these difficult decisions every day, but are also aware that not every business needs traditional legal services. This is why we created our Pivot DIY employer toolkit. Pivot DIY contains guides to help employers decide how to adjust their workforce and template legal documents with instructions on how to customize them. 

Layoffs/Deemed IDEL

Where employers are hopeful that more work will be available in the future, layoffs may be appropriate. A layoff is a temporary stoppage of work. An employer normally needs the contractual right to lay an employee off. Normally, layoffs can only last for specified lengths of time. 
Continue Reading Pivoting Your Business During Yet Another Lockdown

Liability protection for businesses for COVID-19 issues
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Last week, on November 17, 2020, the Ontario government passed a law providing liability protection for businesses for COVID-19 issues. The new Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020 is good news for businesses worried about liability if a customer or client is exposed or contracts COVID-19.

The critical, and pretty much deal-breaking carve out for employers, however, is that employers are NOT protected from claims from employees.
Continue Reading New Business Liability Protection Act Carves out Employee Claims

employee tests covid-19 positive
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As case numbers rise, employers and employees alike may wonder what they should do if an employee or a co-worker tests Covid-19 positive. 

If An Employee is COVID-19 Positive

Obviously, an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not return to work until they are no longer COVID-19 positive. In Ontario, workplaces are currently required to administer the daily screening tool, which ideally catches any infected employee early. 

Employers should assess the infected employee’s past actions and potential contacts. It may not be necessary to close the entire workplace, but it may make sense to close off their work area or the bathroom they used for a time and then to thoroughly disinfect the area.
Continue Reading Covid-19 Infections At Work

covid-19 workplace law issues
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the new Ontario Covid-19 response framework in place and Covid-19 still on the rise, employers need guidance on how to navigate workplace law issues.

During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with employer questions. This is Part 2 of our Q&A on the second wave of Covid-19 workplace law issues.  Click here for Part 1.  

Question 7: If an employee chooses to work from home because of childcare, kids’ online learning/homeschooling, but their role is impossible to do at home, are we required to provide alternative work OR do they just go on leave? 
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 2

Covid-19 workplace legal issues as winter approachesAs we now all head indoors for a few months, how will your business and workforce handle COVID-related restrictions? After 8 months of new pandemic rules and systems, pivoting and outdoor meetings, the long Canadian winter will no doubt bring fresh employment law issues. There’s only so much a cozy fireplace and wool socks can